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Pregnant Women Beware of a Different Kind of Labor Pain

As a midwife, I understand the labor pains pregnant women face nowadays. Hormones are raging, they are not getting enough sleep, and their bodies are changing.  It’s normal to experience sensory overload, but sometimes pregnant women feel pain and discomfort that has nothing to do with the actual baby. They might be hurt by comments made by those closest to them or even by strangers.

It’s a funny thing, when people see a pregnant woman…their verbal filters and personal barriers magically disappear. Everyone becomes an expert – or a comedian.  So, here is what I tell my pregnant patients to be aware of when it comes to facing the world:

1. The Baby Babble: Don’t be surprised if people ask you some inappropriate questions such as “Do you know who the daddy is?” or “Are you carrying twins in there?”  or “I can’t believe you’re still here at work. You’re huge!”  And don’t read too much into a well-intentioned compliment about how small you look. It doesn’t mean something is wrong with your baby. When you’re pregnant, people often wind up babbling and putting a foot in their mouth. They will share their childbirth experience with you whether it was wonderful or difficult. They will offer you opinions on whether you should have a natural birth or C-section.  This is your experience, and you know what’s best for you. If you have questions, talk with your healthcare provider.

2. The Grocery Store Grab: Strangers grab your stomach to feel the baby kick – “Um, hello? You’re touching ME, not my baby!”  Don’t be afraid to back up, turn away or respond with a comment such as, “I’m sorry, but please don’t touch. The baby’s ticklish.”

For those people around a pregnant woman, the best advice I can give: support her in any way you can with positive encouragement and help.  You know she can’t bend over, so help with some chores around the house. If she’s a stranger at a store, ask her if you can help her with her bags or get something off a shelf.  If she is past the morning sickness, deliver a healthy meal for her family. But most importantly be kind and remember, there is really only ONE thing to say to a pregnant woman… “YOU LOOK FABULOUS!”

Julie Stembridge, RN, MSN, CNM, is a certified nurse midwife with WakeMed Physician Practices – Women’s Center.

New WakeMed Women’s Hospital Opening May 2015
We’re counting down the weeks until the May 2015 grand opening of Wake County’s fifth full-service hospital, WakeMed North Family Health & Women’s Hospital. WakeMed North Healthplex at 10000 Falls of Neuse Road in Raleigh is currently being transformed into a 248,800-sq. ft., full-service women’s hospital designed with the unique needs of women in mind. It will feature a tranquil environment as well as amenities tailored to our patients’ needs. This includes spacious and comfortable labor and delivery rooms. Learn more.